Dark Stories History

How the British Ravaged India

Table of Contents


The British colonial rule lasted for over 200 years. During this time, the British extracted vast amounts of wealth from India, while leaving the country’s economy in shambles. The de-industrialization of India, the impoverishment of the peasantry, policy induced famines and the death + displacement of millions of people are all legacies of the British Raj. They ravaged India’s ancient economy, society, and culture. The British Raj was a system of exploitation and oppression that caused immense suffering for the Indian people. It left India impoverished and underdeveloped, and it created a legacy of inequality and injustice that persists to this day.

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Abundance to Abject Poverty

In the year 1700, India’s share in the world’s economy was a staggering 27 percent, more than all of Europe combined. But 250 years later, India’s share had plummeted to less than 3 percent, and its people were left impoverished.

Yes, that is correct. According to Angus Maddison, an economist who compiled historical data on the world economy, India’s share of the world economy in 1700 was 27.0%, while Europe’s share was 23.3%. This means that India’s economy was larger than the combined economies of all of Europe at that time.

Here is a table of the top 10 countries by share of world economy in 1700, according to Maddison:

RankCountryShare in world economy (1700)
5Ottoman Empire6.4%
6Great Britain5.4%
Top 9 Economies in 1700

It is important to note that these figures are estimates but they provide a general indication of the relative sizes of the economies of different countries in the early 1700s.

World’s economy:

1700 CE India’s share 27% (Europe’s share – 23%)

250 years later – India’s share: less than 3 percent

Impact of British Rule

The fact that India’s economy was so large in 1700 is a testament to the country’s long history of economic development. India was a major center of trade and commerce for centuries, and its economy was based on a diverse range of industries, including agriculture, textiles, and manufacturing.

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India in the 18th Century

In 1707 CE, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb died, and the empire went into a spiral of instability. The Mughal Empire was on the brink of collapse, and regional powers started fighting for supremacy. India was vulnerable.

The British saw this as an opportunity. They bribed and barged their way into a dominant position in the subcontinent. The British were different from other foreign powers who had come before them. They didn’t just want to loot and leave. They wanted to extract India’s resources forever. And they succeeded.

By the time India won its independence in 1947, the British had destroyed India’s native institutions, de-industrialized its economy, severed its trade networks, and divided its people along religious, regional and cultural differences. In just 200 years of colonial rule, the India that once inspired the world was unmade.

The deliberate bleeding of India by the British as the greatest crime in all of history.

American scholar, Will Durant

Before colonialism, India was a great industrial and manufacturing nation. Its textile goods, jewelry, precious stones, pottery, porcelains, and metalwork were renowned worldwide.

India was a far greater industrial and manufacturing nation than any in Europe or Asia. Its textile goods, exquisite jewelry, precious stones, pottery, porcelains, fine metalwork were renowned worldwide.

From the writings of JT Sunderland

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Ancient Indian Industries

Textile Industry

India was a textile superpower for most of its long history. The textile industry was a major driver of economic growth and prosperity in India for centuries. It helped to create jobs, boost economic activity, and spread Indian culture around the world.

There were many textile centers in the subcontinent, each with its own unique specialty. Coastal Andhra Pradesh was a block printing hub, while Gujarat and Bengal were known for their high-end woven products. These items were in high demand all over the world, and India enjoyed a 25–30% share of the global textile trade by the mid-18th century.

The thriving textile trade had a significant effect for the entire economy. The popularity of Indian textiles led to the creation of stable international distribution networks. By piggybacking on these networks, other Indian artisans could sell their goods worldwide at a reduced cost. As a result, many different industries flourished alongside the Indian textile industry.

For example, the demand for Indian textiles led to the development of a thriving dyeing and finishing industry. This industry employed millions of people and helped to create a vibrant and diverse textile market.

The textile industry also helped to promote economic growth in other sectors. The demand for Indian textiles created a need for new infrastructure, such as roads, canals, and ports. This infrastructure helped to boost economic activity in other sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing.

The textile industry also helped to spread Indian culture and influence around the world. Indian textiles were highly prized for their quality and craftsmanship. This helped to introduce Indian culture to people all over the world.

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Shipbuilding Industry

India’s shipbuilding industry was also a behemoth, with several ports engaged in constructing elaborate ships with fine workmanship. Indian vessels combined elegance and utility and were known for their durability, outlasting English ships by far.

In the early 17th century, the Bengali merchant fleet was one of the largest and most powerful in the world. It consisted of nearly 5,000 ships, each capable of carrying up to 500 tons of goods. These ships were built in Bengali ports by skilled artisans who had the knowledge and expertise to craft elaborate wooden, iron, and brass fittings.

One British maritime observer noted that Indian vessels “combine elegance and utility and are models of fine workmanship.” Merchant contracts indicate that Bengali ships were much more durable than English ships. Bengali ships had an average lifespan of over 20 years, while English ships were not known to last more than 12.

Bengali ships were much more durable than English ships. Bengali ships had an average lifespan of over 20 years, while English ships were not known to last more than 12.

Merchant contracts from that time period

The Bengali merchant fleet played a vital role in the Indian economy. It transported goods all over the world, including spices, textiles, and raw materials. The fleet also helped to spread Indian culture and influence to other parts of the world.

The decline of the Bengali merchant fleet began in the late 17th century, as the British East India Company began to assert its dominance over the Indian economy. The British company imposed high taxes on Indian ships and forced them to use British ports. This made it difficult for the Bengali merchant fleet to compete, and it eventually declined.

The decline of the Bengali merchant fleet was a major blow to the Indian economy. It deprived India of a valuable source of revenue and trade, and it contributed to the country’s economic decline. The loss of the fleet also had a cultural impact, as it limited India’s ability to interact with other parts of the world.

Since the 6th century CE India was a pioneer in the global steel industry, producing Crucible formed steel known as wootz or Damascus steel.

Historical Records

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Steel Industry

India was a longtime pioneer in the global steel industry. As early as the 6th century CE, crucible-formed steel, which came to be known as wootz or Damascus steel in the West, was being produced for export by Indian blacksmiths, particularly along the Malabar coast and in the Deccan.

Arab and European officers regularly imported blades from India. While these blades were purchased as wartime implements, they were so robust and beautifully crafted that they also served as a mark of high status in times of peace.

The production of wootz steel was a complex and time-consuming process. The steel was made by mixing together iron and carbon in a crucible, and then heating the mixture to a very high temperature. This process created a steel that was incredibly strong and flexible, and it also had a distinctive wavy pattern.

Wootz steel was in high demand throughout the world, and it was used to make a variety of weapons and tools. It was also used to make decorative items, such as jewelry and daggers.

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Side Effects of British Rule

The British came in and destroyed all of that. They established a legal monopoly over Indian textiles, disrupted trade links, dismantled native industries, and imposed harsh tariffs. As a result, India’s economy stagnated, and skilled artisans and workers were impoverished.

Exploitation by Taxation

Peasants also faced unimaginable hardships under British rule. If they couldn’t pay their taxes, they were subjected to physical torture, and their farmland was often confiscated by the British. This exploitative system created tens of millions of landless peasants for the first time in Indian history.

Impacts of British Raj – NYCU

By the end of the 19th century, India had become Britain’s largest source of revenue, its biggest buyer of exports, and a provider of highly paid employment for British civil servants and soldiers. All of this was funded by Indian taxes.

The British were open about their exploitative intentions. The UK’s Prime Minister, the Marquess of Salisbury, even said, “India is to be bled of money; the Lancet should be directed to those parts where the blood is congested.”

The British refused to integrate with India or consider it their home. They saw India as eternally foreign, which justified their creation and maintenance of an extractive colony.

“India is to be bled of money; the Lancet should be directed to those parts where the blood is congested”

The UK’s Prime Minister, the Marquess of Salisbury

In contrast, the Turkic peoples who invaded India and established empires such as the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire did not repatriate India’s wealth to their original homelands. India became their new home, and their loyalties and energies were directed toward its prosperity.

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The cost to India

The British, on the other hand, ruled India as disconnected tyrants, with most of the revenue extracted from India flowing back to their distant homeland. Modern economists estimate that the total amount of wealth extracted from India by the British is around a staggering $43 trillion.

Total amount of wealth extracted from India by the British is around a staggering $43 trillion

Modern economists

British built overpriced Indian Railways

The British built railways in India, but they were not a sign of good intentions. The railways were built to benefit British businesses, not the Indian people. The British government guaranteed high profits for British investors, and when the railways didn’t make enough money, Indian taxpayers had to cover the losses.

Every mile of Indian rail cost 18,000 pounds to construct, compared to only 2,000 pounds for the same mile built in the United States.

Inflated costs of the Indian Railways

Initially, the Indian railways were positioned as a grand investment scheme for British shareholders. The government guaranteed substantial returns of at least five percent per year, and when the revenues fell short, Indian taxpayers covered all the losses. These taxpayer-backed guarantees made railway construction extremely inefficient. Here’s a fun stat: every mile of Indian rail cost 18,000 pounds to construct, compared to only 2,000 pounds for the same mile built in the United States.

The railways were also built to help the British exploit India’s natural resources. The railways made it easier to transport grain and other agricultural products out of India, which led to famines.

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British Policy induced Famines

Over the course of British rule in India, an estimated 35 million preventable deaths were caused by famines, which is millions more than those killed under Stalin or Mao and five times more than the Holocaust. The British were directly responsible for this tragic loss of life.

Over the course of British rule in India, an estimated 35 million people died in famines. The British were directly responsible for this tragic loss of life.

Historical Records

They exported Indian foodstuffs to Britain and other European countries, even during drought periods. As a result, food in India became too expensive for people to afford.


Dr. Charles Hall aptly summarized the situation: “India starves so that its annual tax revenue to England may not be diminished by a dollar” .

The British had no interest in provisioning for Indian lives. Famine non-intervention was official government policy, despite the fact that heavy-handed British intervention and market manipulation sparked the famines in the first place.

“India starves so that its annual tax revenue to England may not be diminished by a dollar”

Dr. Charles Hall

Even when good people, Indians, and foreigners worked together to help famine-affected peasants, the British government made efforts to stop them. They were furious that their own failures were being highlighted.

Scores of corpses were tumbled into old wells because deaths were too numerous for proper funeral rites. Mothers sold their children for a single meal, and husbands flung their wives into ponds to escape the torment of seeing them perish from hunger.

Account of the British official

Amid these scenes of death, the British government in India remained unmoved. Newspapers were persuaded into silence, and orders were given to civilians not to acknowledge that civilians were dying of hunger.

Since British rule ended, there hasn’t been a single large-scale Indian famine. Independent India has its flaws, but it has been overwhelmingly better at providing for the care, safety, and prosperity of its own people.

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Dark Stories

The New King!

Table of Contents


This article/post is an attempt at a historical account of the UK’s royal family from William the Conqueror to Charles I.

It highlights the stories of betrayal, ambition, murder, and power struggles that shaped the monarchy. The video covers several monarchs and notable events, including the Norman Conquest, the War of Roses, the Tudor dynasty, the rivalry between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, and Charles I’s execution, which led to the formation of a republic.

The New Monarch of United Kingdom

King Charles III was just crowned the King of the United Kingdom, which is composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

As such, he is the head of state of these four countries, and he has certain ceremonial and symbolic duties associated with each of them.

In addition, King Charles is also the head of the Commonwealth, which is a group of 54 member states, most of which are former British colonies or territories.

However, his role in the Commonwealth is mainly ceremonial and symbolic, and he does not have any direct political authority over these member states.

Let’s learn a little bit more about his heritage and history.

Monarchs of England since 1702

Let’s look at the list of Kings and Queens who were the rulers of England from about the time the British East India Company started it’s ‘business’ within the Indian Subcontinent.

  1. Queen Anne: 1702-1714
  2. King George I: 1714-1727
  3. King George II: 1727-1760
  4. King George III: 1760-1820
  5. King George IV: 1820-1830
  6. King William IV: 1830-1837
  7. Queen Victoria: 1837-1901
  8. King Edward VII: 1901-1910
  9. King George V: 1910-1936
  10. King Edward VIII: January-December 1936
  11. King George VI: 1936-1952
  12. Queen Elizabeth II: 1952-2022
  13. King Charles III: 2022-present (as of May 2023)

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The Story of the British (UK) Royalty


Read below if you just want the information

Information mentioned in the video article

King Charles’ Bloodstained Crown | The Untold Story of UK Royals

SourceLink to video

It (The British Empire) was built on the blood of murdered relatives, the sweat and blood of slaves and colonial subjects, and by some accounts, the premature deaths of 100 million Indians because of British policy.


The history of the UK Royals is a story of power, violence, and ambition.

From the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the present day, the history of the monarchy is filled with betrayals, murders, and looted colonies. The Meghan Markle scandal may have made headlines, but the story of the UK Royals is far more scandalous than many realize.

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William – 1066 – 34 generations ago

It all began with the arrival of William in Britain in 1066. William and his army defeated Harold, the king of England, in the Battle of Hastings. William was crowned King on Christmas Day in the year 1066 at Westminster Abbey. Charles, the current King, is separated from William by 34 generations.

The history of the UK Royals is filled with betrayals, murders, and looted colonies.

Henry – may have killed his nephew the king

Many historians believe that William’s younger brother Henry killed William II, who was hunting in Southern England when he was killed by his own noble. Henry secured the treasury in Winchester and rushed to London, where he made himself king.

In the UK Royal history, betrayals and murders were not uncommon.

jon – 1199 – killed his 16 year old nephew

King Jon, who took the throne in 1199, had a rival – his brother’s son named Arthur. Jon ordered his 16-year-old nephew and rival’s eyes and genitals to be removed. When the jailer refused to carry out the cruel act, Jon personally murdered his nephew and threw his body into a river.

war of roses – 30 year civil war

Cut to the 15th century, one of the bloodiest chapters in English history was unfolding – The War of Roses. It was a 30-year ruthless and barbaric civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

edward iv first york king – killed his brother george

After the York’s won, Edward IV, their King, grew suspicious of his brother George the Duke of Clarence, and imprisoned him. He drowned George in a pot of wine.

the next king – made edward iv’s sons vanish

In 1483, Edward IV died, and his successor, his 12-year-old son, also named Edward, was heading to London when his uncle stopped him. He put Edward and his brother in the Tower of London, and nobody has seen them since. The murderous uncle made himself king, but decades later, two skeletons were found in the tower. Did they belong to Edward and his brother? No one knows.

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Henry vii (house of tudor) – executed 57000

Henry VII, one of the monarchs of the House of Tudor, executed around 57,000 people in 36 years, which is around four people per day.

elizabeth i – executed rival mary, queen of scots

Elizabeth I, his daughter, had a rivalry with Mary, the Queen of Scots. Elizabeth imprisoned Mary for 18 and a half years and executed her in 1587.

Mary’s execution was a gruesome affair, taking three swings of the ax to behead her. This event is often cited as one of the darkest moments in British history, and has been compared to the brutality of the Game of Thrones.

James vi son of mary of scots becomes king james i

After Elizabeth’s death, the throne passed to James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England. James was the son of Mary Queen of Scots, the same woman whom Elizabeth had executed.

Era of colonialism starts

This was a significant moment in British history, as it marked the beginning of the Stuart dynasty and the start of a new era of colonialism.

Charles i (17th century) delusional

In the mid-17th century, Charles I became king of England. Charles was a delusional ruler who believed that he had been appointed by God. When the parliament disagreed with him, he went to war, but was defeated in 1645 and executed three years later.

This event was a turning point in British history, as it marked the end of the monarchy and the beginning of a republic.

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charles II 1660

However, this was short-lived, and in 1660 the monarchy was restored with the coronation of Charles II.

With the restoration of the monarchy came a new era of colonialism, as Britain began to expand its empire across the globe.

The economic model – Profit from Slavery

Over the next few centuries, Britain would invade around 90% of all countries, becoming the superpower of the 18th century. The economic model that sustained this empire was slavery, and Britain perfected it.

Although they did not start the slave trade (that would be Portugal and Spain), they transported around 3.4 million Africans to their colonies. Of these, 2.7 million reached their destination alive, while the rest perished. This was all done with royal approval, as Charles II had institutionalized slavery during his rule.

Today, the current king of Britain, Charles III, is carrying the burden of this legacy.

His direct ancestors bought slaves in Virginia, and yet there has been no apology for this dark chapter in British history.

The real Legacy – Murder, Slavery, Colonial Loot

Looking back, it is hard to know what to make of this Empire and this Throne. It was built on the blood of murdered relatives, the sweat and blood of slaves and colonial subjects, and by some accounts, the premature deaths of 100 million Indians because of British policy.

The Loot

The impact of the British monarchy on the world is hard to overstate. It is estimated that they took resources worth 45 trillion dollars, which is 15 times Britain’s current GDP, from India alone.

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Impact of the Royal Follies

The entire world has had to pay for the Royal Family’s mistakes, as seen in the first world war. The three rulers of the major powers during the war, George V of England, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, were all cousins. Their rivalry ended with the death of 20 million people.

Recap – Royal Legacy – Murder & Plunder

This flashback is a necessary reminder of the real history of the British throne, the blood they spilled, the innocents they executed, and the lands they plundered.

The throne is soiled by cruelty and ruthlessness, and it is important to acknowledge this history in order to move forward.

The British monarchy continues to have a powerful influence on the world, and it is up to us to hold them accountable for their actions, have their current Royal generation, their government, acknowledge the atrocities and demand justice for the victims of their past.

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Dark Stories

British – Traders to Rulers & Looters

Table of Contents


  • Learn more about how the British ravaged India for almost 200 years.
  • The British came to India as traders but soon became rulers. They exploited India’s resources, people, and culture for their own benefit.
  • The British imposed heavy taxesfamineslaws, and wars on India. They also divided India into religious and ethnic groups to weaken its unity.
  • The British took away India’s wealtharteducation, and freedom. They also destroyed India’s industriesagriculture, and environment.
  • The British left India in 1947 after a long struggle by the Indian people. But they left behind a legacy of povertyviolence, and injustice that still affects India today.

What were the British doing in India?

The British arrived in India in the early 17th century, primarily as traders – specifically as the British East India Company who were interested in establishing trade routes and developing profitable business opportunities.

Initially, the British East India Company, which was granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, focused on trading in textiles, spices, and other luxury goods that were highly valued in Europe.

Learn More

Over time, the British East India Company expanded its influence and power in India, establishing trading posts and building alliances with local rulers.

Top Image source – Map of British India, 1914 (NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage)

How did the British go from traders to rulers?

The British East India Company gradually transitioned from being a trading company to a political and military power in India.

The company began to take on administrative and military roles in India, and by the mid-18th century, it had established de facto control over many parts of the country.

During the 19th century, British rule in India became more formalized, and the British East India Company was replaced by the British Raj, a colonial government that was established in 1858 after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Under British East India Company’s rule, India was transformed in order to support the profit of the British and the company. Economically, politically, and socially, with the introduction of new technologies, infrastructure, and systems of governance all designed to extract every single resource which they monetize for the monarchy.

The British rule in India was characterized by exploitation, discrimination, and violence, and it had a profound impact on Indian society and culture.

Indian nationalists and reformers began to call for independence from British rule in the early 20th century, and India finally achieved independence in 1947, after decades of struggle and resistance.

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There were several strategies that the British East India Company used to achieve this, including:

Military conquest

The British East India Company used its military power to conquer Indian states and expand its territory. The British East India Company recruited Indian soldiers and trained them in European military tactics, which gave them an advantage over Indian armies that were still using traditional methods of warfare.

The British East India Company also used a divide-and-rule policy, exploiting existing tensions and conflicts between Indian states to weaken them and make them easier to conquer.

Diplomacy and alliances

The British East India Company also used diplomacy and alliances to expand its power in India. The company established friendly relations with some Indian rulers and formed alliances with them against other Indian states.

The British East India Company also made use of Indian intermediaries, such as local traders and bankers, to build relationships and gain influence.

Economic control

The British East India Company gained economic control over Indian markets by establishing a monopoly over certain goods, such as opium, and by imposing tariffs and taxes on Indian trade. This allowed the company to generate revenue and control the Indian economy.

Cultural influence

The British East India Company also had a significant impact on Indian culture and society. The company promoted the English language, education, and Christianity, which helped spread British cultural influence in India. This also had the effect of eroding traditional Indian culture and values.

The British East India Company used a combination of military, political, economic, and cultural strategies to gain power in India and establish British rule.
East India Company – LOOTED India with impunity Source

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The dark side to these strategies

There was a sinister and a dark side to the strategies used by the British East India Company to establish its rule in India. Using the same areas as above:

Military conquest

The British East India Company’s military campaigns often involved violence, brutality, and massacres.

For example, the company’s conquest of Bengal in the late 18th century was marked by atrocities such as the massacre of the inhabitants of the city of Patna.

Diplomacy and alliances

The British East India Company’s alliances with Indian rulers often involved corruption and coercion. The company would bribe or threaten rulers to gain their loyalty, and would then use them to subjugate other Indian states.

Economic control

The company’s economic policies had a devastating impact on Indian industries and agriculture. The imposition of extremely high tariffs and taxes on Indian trade, as well as the company’s control over certain goods, led to the impoverishment of Indian farmers and artisans.

The British East India Company’s monopoly over opium production also had a damaging effect on Indian society, as it led to widespread addiction and social disruption.

Cultural influence

The British East India Company’s promotion of English language, education, and Christianity had a negative impact on Indian culture and society.

Traditional Indian knowledge systems and languages were marginalized and denigrated, and Indian society was forced to adopt Western cultural norms and values.

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Source – The total loss in Indian lives -conservatively over 25+ million

There were several famines that occurred, some of which were caused or exacerbated by the policies of the British East India Company.

Conservatively, over 25+ million Indian lives were lost aided greatly by the policies of the British East India Company – sanctioned by the British crown


Here is a list of some of the major famines that occurred in India during this period:

Bengal Famine of 1770

This was one of the deadliest famines in Indian history, which occurred during the early years of the British East India Company rule in India.

It is estimated that the famine resulted in the deaths of over 10 million people, or about one-third of the population of Bengal at the time.
Bengal Famine – Source

The famine was caused by a combination of factors, including crop failures, extremely high taxes collected with the use of force, and the forced export of food grains to Britain.

Evidently, this had a significant impact on the American Boston Tea Party. (Warning – the following account has graphic famine related accounts)

Madras Famine of 1782-83

This famine occurred in the Madras Presidency (present-day Tamil Nadu) and was caused by a severe drought. It is estimated that the famine resulted in the deaths of around 5 million people.

The commodification of grain and the cultivation of alternative cash crops during the period; exorbitant taxes are also believed to have played a part in causing the famine, along with the export of grain by the colonial government

and some were reduced even to cannibalism.

Meanwhile, Queen Victoria had been crowned Empress of India, and a grand celebration was underway, with over 60,000 guests and exquisite food and wine.


Viceroy Lord Lytton is believed to have overseen the export of 325 million kilograms of wheat to England while the Indian population was under the ravages of the deadly famine.

Chalisa Famine 1783-84

The Chalisa famine occurred in the year 1783-84 in the Chalisa region of present-day Uttar Pradesh in India. The exact death toll from the famine is not known, but it is estimated that around 11 million people died due to starvation and disease.
Doji bara famine of 1791-92

This famine occurred in the areas of present-day Maharashtra and parts of Gujarat, and was caused by crop failures and drought. It is estimated that the famine resulted in the deaths of around 11 million people.
Bengal Famine of 1943 (after the British Govt took over)

This famine occurred during the Second World War and was caused by a combination of factors, including crop failures, the forced recruitment of laborers by the British, and the diversion of food grains to support the war effort.

It is estimated that the famine resulted in the deaths of at least 3 million people.

To be fair – it’s worth mentioning that while the policies of the East India Company definitely point to heavily contributed to most of these famines, they were not the sole cause.

Many of these famines were also caused by natural factors, such as droughts and crop failures.

Nonetheless, the policies of the British East India Company, including the imposition of high taxes, introduction of cash crops for the company’s benefit and the forced export of food grains, undoubtedly worsened the impact of these famines on the Indian population.

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Some of the sources (in addition to the Wikipedia articles linked to above):

  1. Bengal Famine of 1770:
  • Davis, M. (2002). Late Victorian holocausts: El Niño famines and the making of the Third World. Verso Books.
  • Sen, A. (1981). Poverty and famines: An essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford University Press.
  • Biswas, A. K. (1975). Famine in Bengal, 1770-1771: A study in administrative response. Cambridge University Press.
  1. Madras Famine of 1782-83:
  • Davis, M. (2002). Late Victorian holocausts: El Niño famines and the making of the Third World. Verso Books.
  • Maharatna, A. (1996). The Madras famine of 1782-83: A case of government failure? The Indian Economic & Social History Review, 33(1), 1-24.
  1. Doji bara famine of 1791-92:
  • Davis, M. (2002). Late Victorian holocausts: El Niño famines and the making of the Third World. Verso Books.
  • Kulkarni, S. S. (1963). The Doji bara famine of 1791-92 in Maharashtra. Indian Economic and Social History Review, 1(3), 289-306.
  1. Bengal Famine of 1943: (after the British Govt took over)
  • Sen, A. (1981). Poverty and famines: An essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford University Press.
  • Guha, R. (1990). An agrarian history of South Asia. Oxford University Press.

Please note that these sources may contain different estimates of the number of deaths caused by the famines vs what’s reported in Wikipedia, as there is often disagreement among historians and scholars about the exact number of people affected; which obviously would be embarrassing if widely discussed in today’s world. However, they provide a good starting point for further research on the topic.

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Did any key people help this transition ?

Robert Clive

Robert Clive, also known as Clive of India, was a key figure in the British East India Company’s expansion of territorial control in India in the mid-18th century – especially from traders to rulers.

Clive first arrived in India in 1744 as a clerk in the East India Company. He rose through the ranks quickly, and by the 1750s, he was serving as a military commander in the company’s wars against Indian rulers.
Robert Clive – Source

Clive’s military campaigns, which included victories at the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar in 1764, helped establish British control over large parts of India.

In addition to his military achievements, Clive was also involved in the company’s internal politics and governance in India.
Robert Clive helped East India Company Plunder India – and got his share of the LOOT.

He served as Governor of Bengal twice, from 1757-1760 and from 1765-1767, during which time he implemented a number of important reforms in governance and administration.

Clive’s legacy in India is complex. While he is often credited with establishing British control over India, his military campaigns were marked by violence and brutality, and he was criticized for his role in the corruption and exploitation of Indian resources and wealth. He also faced criticism in Britain, where he was accused of corruption and abuse of power.

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Other Notable British East India Company Employees

There were several other East India Company employees who rose to power in India and played important roles in the company’s expansion of territorial control and exploitation of India’s resources and wealth.

Warren Hastings

One such figure was Warren Hastings, who served as the Governor-General of India from 1774-1785. Hastings was involved in several military campaigns in India, including the First Anglo-Maratha War, and he also implemented a number of important administrative and legal reforms during his tenure.

However, he was also criticized for his role in the corruption and exploitation of Indian resources, and he faced impeachment proceedings in Britain in 1787.

Richard Wellesley

Richard Wellesley, served as the Governor-General from 1798-1805.

Wellesley was responsible for implementing the company’s policy of “subsidiary alliances,” which involved forming alliances with Indian rulers in exchange for control over their foreign relations and military forces.

This policy allowed the British East India Company to expand its territorial control in India without the need for direct military conquests, but it also contributed to the weakening of Indian states and the loss of their sovereignty.

Lord Dalhousie

Lord Dalhousie, served as the Governor-General from 1848-1856 implemented a number of important reforms in infrastructure, communication, and law, but also contributed to the annexation of several Indian states; and Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal who was defeated by Clive in the Battle of Plassey and whose deposition marked the beginning of British rule in Bengal.

The British East India Company’s rule in India was marked by exploitation and abuse of power, and many of its employees and officials were involved in corruption, violence, and the plundering of India’s resources and wealth.

While some individuals may have also made important contributions to governance and administration, their actions were ultimately overshadowed by the company’s overall legacy of exploitation and oppression.

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Get the real story – read review and not the popular sanitized narrative – Buy book

For more of a summary check out –

Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India

and for a more detailed account read

An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India

by the same author

Review of MJ Akbar’s book Source Buy the book
Dark Stories Did You Know History

Portuguese Inquisition In India

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The Portuguese Inquisition in India was a brutal and horrific period of religious persecution that began in the 16th century and lasted for over 250 years. The Inquisition was established to enforce religious conformity among the population and was modeled after the Spanish Inquisition.

The Inquisition targeted Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, forcing them to convert to Christianity or face severe punishments, including unspeakable torture and cruel death sentences.

Many people were accused of being heretics or secret Jews and were subjected to brutal interrogations and trials.

The Inquisition had a profound impact on Indian society and culture, as it also included the destruction of many ancient temples and religious sites, and forced many people to flee their homes and communities. It also resulted in the loss of many important historical and cultural artifacts.

The Inquisition was finally abolished in 1821, but its legacy continues to impact India to this day.

The Portuguese In India

The Portuguese Empire conquered the province of Goa in 1510 CE, and made it the capital of Portuguese India.

The video with an overview

The Portuguese Inquisition – The atrocities in Goa, India – Source OddCompass
Video with more details – a descendant’s account
The Goan Inquisition – a descendant’s account

The Inquisition – a high level summary

In 1560 CE, the Portuguese brought their Catholic Inquisition to Goa to establish a Catholic stronghold in Asia where religious laws would be strictly enforced.
Goa Inquisition – Source

What we know about the inquisition has been lost due to the destruction of records by the Portuguese government in 1821 when the inquisition was abolished

Everyone is affected

Both natives and Portuguese settlers were subject to extreme punishment, including imprisonment, torture, and even death by immolation. The Goan Inquisition created a persecution hell, and many people fled for India hoping to escape persecution.

The Portuguese inquisition became a theocratic arm of the state subject to the authority of the king, and it served a political function as well, censoring books, attacking political dissidents, banning non-standard cultural practices, and more.

Policies regarding Indian Muslims were oppressive, though mosques were not outright destroyed in the pre-inquisition era.

The Portuguese also established an inquisition in Goa which lasted for nearly three centuries and was characterized by oppression and bloodshed.

Hidden History
The Inquisitor

The Goan Inquisition was jump-started in 1543 CE with the arrival of Saint Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Jesuits. The Inquisition had an influence on colonial administration, and Portuguese religious and secular infrastructure was deployed to destroy the enemies of the Inquisition.
A saint to some – but not to those he tortured – Source

The Goan Inquisition was a period of intense religious persecution in which the Portuguese targeted Jews, Hindu and Muslim converts to Christianity, and Hindus in an effort to expunge native culture and religion and incentivize conversion to Christianity.

Those convicted of religious crimes were subject to fines, public whipping, imprisonment, torture, execution, and burning alive at the stake. The Portuguese even banned Jews from Goa outright, causing an exodus of Jewish new Christians to the Malabar coast and the Middle East.

The target of the Inquisition

The Inquisition’s primary target was Hindus, and sweeping anti-Hindu laws were imposed by the colonial administration, including the outlawing of open practice of Hinduism and prohibitions against constructing new temples or repairing damaged ones.

The oppression led to a mass exodus of non-Christians out of Goa, and even those who converted to Christianity faced restrictions from maintaining their old customs.

The persecution resulted in the loss of well-connected merchants, formerly Jewish new Christians, and Hindus, which ultimately crippled the competitive ability of the Portuguese in India.

Warning – this section has graphic information about the tortures

Some of the the documented atrocities from the article above:

Conversion method

M. D. David, author of Western Colonialism in Asia and Christianity, writes: “…A particularly grave abuse was practiced in Goa in the form of ‘mass baptism’ and what went before it. The practice was begun by the Jesuits and was initiated by the Franciscans also. The Jesuits staged an annual mass baptism on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), and in order to secure as many neophytes as possible, a few days before the ceremony the Jesuits would go through the streets of the Hindu quarter in pairs, accompanied by their African slaves, whom they would urge to seize the Hindus. When the blacks caught up a fugitive, they would smear his lips with a piece of beef, making him an ‘untouchable’ among his people. Conversion to Christianity was then his only option.

The below examples do not include seizure of lands, property, destruction of temples, banning of local religion, books, traditional customs and what would be considered run of the mill sexual assault, torture & executions. So read with caution.

Unspeakable atrocities

The Archbishop living on the banks of the Ethora said in a lecture that, “The post of Inquiry Commission in Goa is regarded as holy.” Thus, the Indian ladies who opposed or resisted the sexual advances of the assistants of the commission were put behind bars and then forcibly used by them to satisfy their carnal desires. Then they were burnt alive as opponents or heretics of the established tenets of the Catholic Church.

Mentions in Literature

Also, the famous writer of the 19th century, Alexandre Herculano, wrote in his book, Fragment about the Inquisition, how no one was excused from the tortures of the Inquisition: “… the terrors inflicted on pregnant women made them abort… Neither the beauty nor decorousness of the flower of youth, nor the old age, so worthy of compassion in a woman, exempted the weaker sex from the brutal ferocity of the supposed defenders of the religion… There were days when seven or eight were submitted torture.”

Paul William Roberts, in Empire of the Soul, Some Journeys in India, writes about the methods of the Portuguese Inquisition: “Children were flogged and slowly dismembered in front of their parents whose eyelids had been sliced off to make sure they missed nothing. Extremities were amputated carefully, so that a person could remain conscious even when all that remained was a torso and a head… Those subjected to other diabolical tortures could also be counted in the thousands and the abominations continued until a brief respite in 1774… The evil resumed, continuing, almost incredibly, until June 16, 1812. At that point, British pressure put an end to terror (with) the presence of British troops stationed in Goa.”

Dr. Trasta Breganka Kunha, a Catholic citizen of Goa, had written: “In spite of all the mutilations and concealment of history, it remains an undoubted fact that religious conversion of Goans is due to methods of force by the Portuguese to establish their rule. As a result of this violence the character of our people was destroyed. The propagation of Christian sect in Goa came about not by religious preaching but through methods of violence and pressure. If any evidence is needed for this fact, we can obtain it through law books, orders and reports of the local rulers of that time and also from the most dependable documents of the Christian sect.”

The article linked above has more sources in it.

The top image is also from that article

A more detailed article

Translation of the book by a French Doctor written during the Inquisition in India

A recap of the Portuguese Inquisition

The Portuguese arrived in Goa in the early 16th century and established a trading post. They also brought with them their religion, which eventually made Goa less attractive as a trade center.

The Dutch were able to take advantage of this and became the dominant European trading force in the subcontinent.

The Portuguese also established an inquisition in Goa which lasted for nearly three centuries and was characterized by oppression and bloodshed.

Sadly, much of what we know about the inquisition has been lost due to the destruction of records by the Portuguese government in 1821 when the inquisition was abolished. The terror and oppression brought by the inquisition will never be forgotten.

Dark Stories

The dark side of sweet sugar

Table of Contents


This post tries to provide a glimpse of the sugar industry’s dark history and the exploitation of enslaved and indentured laborers by European governments – specifically the British, French, Portuguese and the Dutch. It raises important questions about the responsibilities of european corporations and governments’ legacies of historical injustices.

The post describes how the sugar industry relied on slave labor, particularly in the Caribbean and the Americas, and how the lives of enslaved people were brutalized and dehumanized by the demands of sugar production.

The post also discusses how indentured laborers were brought in from India and other parts of Asia by the British to work on sugar plantations, and how they too were subjected to harsh conditions and exploitation and how they benefited from the profits of this exploitative system – along with the other European powers.

A brief look at the origins of sugar

Sugar has been a part of human diets for thousands of years. The first recorded use of sugar dates back to 500 BC in the Indian subcontinent, where sugarcane was used to produce a sweetener called “gur” or “jaggery.”

Gur, Gud or Jaggery
Gur, Gud or Jaggery

Gud or Gur or Jaggery – a course sugar made from sugarcane juice

From India, the use of sugarcane spread to the Middle East and then to the Mediterranean region. In the 8th century, the Moors introduced sugar to Spain, and from there it spread to other parts of Europe.

During the Age of Exploration in the 15th century, European colonizers established sugarcane plantations in the New World, particularly in Brazil and the Caribbean. The expansion of sugar production was driven by the high demand for sugar in Europe and the availability of cheap labor in the colonies.

The widespread use of sugar as a sweetener and preservative in food and drink continued to grow throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. With the rise of industrialization and technological advancements, sugar production became more efficient and cheaper. This led to increased consumption of sugar in processed foods and beverages, and a rise in health concerns related to excessive sugar intake.

Sugarcane field
Sugarcane Field in Asia

Today, sugar is a major commodity crop and is produced in large quantities in countries such as Brazil, India, China, and Thailand. Its use and production continue to have significant economic and social impacts worldwide.

When the demand for sugar was growing faster than it’s availability – it presented a huge opportunity for anyone who could produce it in bulk.

Labor and land was needed to meet the growing demand around the world.

The production of sugar for worldwide usage was a huge undertaking and very profitable for a lot of colonial powers which captured the majority of the supply of sugar which still has a never ending demand.

But there is more to the supply of sugar…

How did sugar production increase?

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish sugarcane plantations in the Atlantic islands and later in Brazil. In the 16th century, sugar became a major industry in Brazil, with the Portuguese importing African slaves to work the plantations.

What is the historical impact of the popularity of sugar?

The cultivation of sugarcane and the production of sugar had a profound impact on the economies of many countries, including Brazil, Cuba, and other parts of the Caribbean. The plantation system that developed to cultivate sugarcane was based on the exploitation of slaves and led to the widespread use of slave labor in the New World.

Before Indian indentured servants were brought to the Caribbean, there were already established sugar plantations in the region, primarily operated by African slaves who were forcibly brought over during the transatlantic slave trade. These plantations were owned by European colonial powers such as Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.

The production of rum from molasses began in the Caribbean in the 17th century and quickly became a profitable industry for the colonial powers

The sugar produced in these plantations was in the form of raw, unrefined sugar. Molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, was often discarded or used as animal feed. The production of rum from molasses began in the Caribbean in the 17th century and quickly became a profitable industry.

The life expectancy of a slave working in the sugar fields was often less than 10 years due to the grueling nature of the work and poor living conditions.

The labor conditions for African slaves in these plantations were brutal, with long hours, harsh punishments, and widespread abuse. The life expectancy of a slave working in the sugar fields was often less than 10 years due to the grueling nature of the work and poor living conditions.

After the abolition of slavery in the 19th century, colonial powers turned to indentured laborers from India, China, and other parts of the world to continue sugar production. These laborers faced similarly harsh conditions, with long hours and low pay. Many were also subjected to discriminatory laws and social hierarchies that favored Europeans over other ethnic groups.

The slave trade and the exploitation of workers on sugarcane plantations had far-reaching social and economic consequences, including the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few, and the impoverishment of many.

In modern times, sugar is produced in many countries around the world, including Brazil, India, China, Thailand, and the United States. The modern form of crystalline white sugar was developed in the 18th century in Europe, and the refinement process has been improved over time to produce highly refined and processed sugar.

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How does sugar impact our health?
Source – Also learn more about classifications and types of sugar

The consumption of sugar has been linked to various health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In recent years, there has been growing concern over the health effects of consuming too much sugar, leading to increased interest in alternative sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit extract.

Learn more here

How did the spread of sugar impact India?

During the colonial period, India was one of the world’s largest producers of sugar, but the production was almost entirely controlled by British planters.

They established large sugarcane plantations and mills in areas like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, and relied heavily on indentured labor to work on these plantations.

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What are indentured laborers?

Indentured laborers were typically recruited from impoverished villages in India and promised better wages and living conditions on the plantations.
Learn more about the Indian Indenture System – Wikipedia

However, once they arrived, they were often subjected to harsh working conditions and had little freedom or mobility. The indentured labor system was abolished in India in the early 20th century, but many plantations continued to rely on coerced labor and other exploitative practices.

After India gained independence, the government sought to nationalize the sugar industry and reduce the control of foreign planters. However, this process was slow and met with resistance from powerful plantation owners.

The exploitation of Indian labor and resources in the sugar industry is not unique to India, as similar patterns of exploitation have occurred in other sugar-producing regions of the world, such as the Caribbean and Brazil.

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Where were these indentured Indians taken to?

Learn more about the Indo-Caribbeans – Wikipedia

Indians were taken to the Caribbean in the 19th century to work on sugar plantations as indentured laborers. They were brought over by the British to replace African slaves who had been emancipated.

They were promised free passage to different countries, a place to live, and a return passage to India after five years.

However, these promises were rarely fulfilled, and laborers were subjected to long hours of work, low wages, and poor living conditions.

They faced discrimination and racism from the white plantation owners, were subject to physical abuse and were not allowed to practice their religion or speak their native languages. Many laborers died from diseases, and life expectancy was low.

The majority of Indian laborers went to Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica. The descendants of these laborers, known as Indo-Caribbeans, make up a significant portion of the population in these countries.

Indian indentured laborers were brought to work on sugar plantations by the British in:

Mauritius: starting in 1834.

Guyana: starting in 1838.

Trinidad and Tobago: starting in 1845.

Suriname: starting in 1873.

Fiji: starting in 1879.

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How did this indentured laborer system come by?

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the British East India Company was involved in the trade of Indian slaves to various parts of the world, including to British colonies in the Americas and the Caribbean.

These slaves were often labeled as “coolies” and were subject to brutal working conditions on plantations, mines, and other labor-intensive industries.

While the Indian slave trade was not as extensive as the transatlantic slave trade, it nonetheless affected hundreds of thousands of Indians and had a significant impact on Indian society.
Learn more about Indian diaspora in Southeast Africa – Wikipedia

Moreover, after slavery was officially abolished in the British Empire in the mid-19th century, Indian laborers were still brought to various British colonies under different guises, such as indentured labor or contract labor.
Learn more about the Indo-Seychellois – Wikipedia

In addition to these forms of indentured labor, there were also cases of Indian people being labeled as “African” slaves and sold in the transatlantic slave trade. For example, in the late 18th century, a British slave trader named John Newton purchased Indian slaves in West Africa and brought them to the Americas, where they were sold into slavery.

These laborers were often subject to exploitative working conditions and were sometimes treated as virtual slaves. In fact, many historians argue that the indentured labor system that replaced slavery in the British Empire was not substantially different from slavery itself.

The British Empire’s involvement in the Indian slave trade and the subsequent indentured labor system had long-lasting effects till the modern day, both in India and in the countries where Indian indentured laborers were brought.

It is important to note that the experiences of Indian people as “African” slaves were not identical to those of African slaves, and the historical and social contexts of these forms of exploitation were different.

However, the fact that Indian people were subjected to forced labor and exploitation by the British Empire is a part of the complex and often troubling history of colonialism and imperialism.

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What were the conditions in other countries where sugar was produced?

The sugar industry relied heavily on the use of enslaved Africans, who were brought over to work on the sugarcane plantations.

Conditions for enslaved workers were brutal, and mortality rates were high.

Brazil became a major producer of sugar in the early 16th century, after the Portuguese colonized the country.

Many enslaved Africans rebelled against their conditions, leading to uprisings and revolts throughout Brazil’s history.

Brazil’s sugar industry later transitioned to the production of ethanol, a biofuel made from sugarcane, which is still an important industry in the country today.

Haiti was a major producer of sugar during the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was a French colony known as Saint-Domingue.

The Haitian Revolution, a slave rebellion that began in 1791, ultimately led to Haiti’s independence in 1804.

Haiti was also forced to pay reparations to France in order to secure diplomatic recognition, which placed a significant burden on the country’s finances and contributed to its economic difficulties.

The sugar industry in Haiti declined after independence, due to a combination of factors including political instability, soil depletion, and competition from other sugar-producing countries.

Jamaica was a major producer of sugar during the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was a British colony.

The British abolition of the slave trade in 1807 and slavery in 1833 had a significant impact on the sugar industry, as labor became more expensive and difficult to secure.

The British did not skip a beat and started getting indentured laborers to work the fields.

Jamaica’s sugar industry declined in the 20th century due to a combination of factors, including competition from other sugar-producing countries and the transition to other agricultural crops.

Other nearby sugarcane plantations:
Other countries in the Caribbean and Central and South America, such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, also had significant sugar industries that relied on enslaved labor in the past.

These industries declined after the abolition of slavery and indentured labor, but sugarcane production remains an important industry in many of these countries today.